Another Week of Awesomeness!

11 08 2013

I’m just knocking these out like crazy! I had a very laid back and fun filled week checking things off the list and making me feel productive. Here’s the recap:

#4 Hire a photographer (for my wedding)
I have been struggling with this one for a long time now, because I wanted someone to take really nice, professional pictures, but I didn’t like the outrageous price tag that often goes along with it. We have a friend who takes amazing pictures and I wanted him to be our photographer, but since he’s one of the groomsmen, that wasn’t going to work. On my search for the perfect photographer I scoured the ads on craigslist and thought I found the perfect match until several emails later when I discovered that she was based out of another state and was going to require airfare, 2 nights hotel stay, a rental car, and gas, on top of her price for the work! I went back to craigslist and was thrilled to discover J-C Photography. They are a husband and wife team based out of a town about an hour away from me, and they do wedding photography as a side business, and they photographed another wedding at my venue last year! I met with Jackie and was absolutely thrilled with the shots they had taken and how warm and friendly she was, and I loved their price even more! I’m convinced that I found the perfect match for our needs, and I’m glad to have this item checked off the list!

#5 Hire a caterer (for my wedding)
This was another big struggle for me – I wanted to be in charge of preparing my own food, but my parents really strongly pressured me to find a caterer instead so I wouldn’t have to deal with the stress of it. I have searched around for a while, but with over 300 invited guests, I wasn’t interested in the price of any caterer I found, the least expensive starting around $10/person and only going up from there. After much deliberation, I made the decision to stick with my initial desire to be my own caterer, and am working on planning a sandwich bar and salad bar. I think it will go really well with my wedding being outdoors in the heat of summer, and I’m really looking forward to planning it all!

#8 Collect/clean glass bottles/jars
I have been hitting up lots of garage sales for inexpensive vintage bottles and jars and have also been collecting liquor and wine bottles, as well as other neat household jars and am very happy with my collection so far. This is just a small piece of the collection I’ve amassed, and I think I’m going to end up with a very nice assortment to use as vases at the wedding.IMG_3141

#21 Use my new food dehydrator
I was housesitting at a place where they have 2 rows of apple hedges/bushes (no idea how they get them to grow that way, but it’s neat!) and I took advantage of the abundance of fruit to try out my food dehydrator that I had gotten on sale at Amazon a while back. There were also a few bananas that were about to spoil, so I sliced those up as well. I turned on the dehydrator and in the morning, voila! Dried fruit! I was very happy with how it all turned out, especially the bananas and will definitely be using my dehydrator again in the future.IMG_3135

#25 Make a pie
IMG_3077Continuing on with the abundance of apples, I decided to make an apple pie! I used this recipe for the crust (doubled for top and bottom) and this recipe for the filing. I think it turned out great! I also whipped up a batch of almond milk vanilla ice cream in my ice cream maker and it made for the perfect sweet treat for a hot summer night!IMG_3078

#29 Handcuff myself to one of my sisters
I initially put that I wanted to do this for 4 hours, but my sister, Haley, and I didn’t start until 8:30 at night and we took it off around 10:00 so she could get ready for bed. It was a fun for a while, and definitely made us laugh. =) (We used a scarf.)IMG_3106

#36 Learn how to do a new hairstyle on myself
So I didn’t exactly learn how to do anything new, but I did get my hair cut with layers for the first time in years! My sister, Hannah, and I went in to get free layered hair cuts from the Aveda Institute in Portland, where up and coming stylists needed practice subjects to take before and after pictures showcasing their skills at layered cutting. I was a little apprehensive about letting an amateur work on my hair, but our stylists were great, and they had to ask their instructors to check their work along the way. The only downside was that it took 2 hours! I was glad that they took their time and did a great job though, and hey, it was free!IMG_3080

#52 Drive thru backwards
This one was fun! My sister, Hannah, really wanted ice cream one night, so it was the perfect opportunity to knock this one off the list! We had a blast, though I was a little bummed that the McDonalds employees weren’t at all amused. The last person we talked to relayed a message from the manager that if we went through backwards again, they would refuse to serve us. Oh well, it was cheap entertainment!IMG_3138

#54 Chinese fire drill
Now that my sister, Hannah, finally has her license, we were able to do this one! For those of you who don’t know, a Chinese fire drill is when you come up to a red light and all the people get out of the car and run around to a different seat and continue driving. Hannah was nervous though, so we did it at a stop sign in a neighborhood instead of at a red light. It was still fun though!

#58 White water rafting
Alex and I hadn’t been white water rafting since we were kids, so I took advantage of a great deal on Living Social to experience the adventure at a discount from River Trail Guides. It was relaxing, fun, and we even ended up in the same boat as one of my favorite high school teachers, Mr. Davis, who taught me Spanish. I had also babysat his two daughters who were now much older, and it was really fun seeing them all again.  We had a great time, and I would definitely go back again!IMG_3076

#88 Grilled Cheese Grill
Hannah and I stopped at this food cart in Portland after our hair cuts. I had heard about it from another blog I follow and was excited to give it a try. The double decker bus was definitely a fun, unique touch, and the sandwich was greasy, but good. I got a basic grilled cheese with pesto, and my sister got The Preschooler, which was a basic grilled cheese with the crusts cut off. I think I’d go back with Alex sometime, because he would probably be interested in trying something like The Cheesus, which is a hamburger that uses grilled cheese sandwiches as the bun, and I’d be interested in trying a dessert sandwich.IMG_3140

#89 Buffalo Wild Wings
buffalo-wild-wingsWe finally got a BWW in my town a couple months ago, and hit them up for their wing special night. It was perfectly comfortable in their outdoor covered porch, and it was fun to try different wing sauces. We don’t eat wings very often, and discovered the hard way that “boneless” means fried – I definitely will get the regular ones next time. It was fun though, and I’m sure we’ll be back again.

#94 Try the infinity dancers pose with my sisters
I (like many people before me I’m sure) saw this beautiful picture on Pinterest of 2 girls doing dancers pose and making an infinity sign, and since I regularly do yoga and my sisters have danced their whole lives, I thought we’d have little trouble being able to copy them. Boy was I wrong!

Here’s what it was supposed to look like:afb67ce072137d7295c72987fb97c976

And here’s what we looked like:IMG_3139

#97 Eat Indian food
Alex and I hadn’t eaten Indian food since we were much younger, so we were excited to try this one. We went to a lunch buffet so we could sample a little bit of everything, and it was good! The decor was really neat too, with fake trees inside, and fake foliage attached to the ceiling, which was painted to look like the sky so it would feel like you were eating under a tree. Our favorite was the Chicken Tandori and there was also some good creamy spinach dish and some yummy potato-like things. There was chicken that was colored bright red with tasty spices, and for dessert – a delicious, light, sweet treat made with coconut milk, rice, and some little berries. A lot of the time we didn’t really know what we were eating, but it was really good and fun to experience! We’ll definitely be back!IMG_3136

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Catching Up…

28 07 2013

Almost 4 weeks of bucket listing to blog about… I’m behind! I took a day trip up to Portland with one of my sisters to check off a few items, then flew out to Hawaii for 5 days to celebrate my aunt’s wedding, and then was house sitting back to back weeks for different families! I’ve been living out of a bag for weeks now, and it feels so wonderful to be home! And now to get caught up on my bucket list blogging from the month of July…

#6 Figure out wedding cakes
I have asked a small handful of family and friends to make one or two cakes/desserts each so that we will end up with a table full of a variety of sweet treats, and I think it is going to turn out wonderfully! I still need to ask a few more people, but I would say that this one is fairly well taken care of for now.

#9 Collect photo booth props
Obviously, I plan to have a photo booth at my wedding, and I have been very busy collecting props from my trip to Bins and from garage sales (more on both of those below)!  I now have a fun selection of fun scarves, ties, hats, boas, and more! I also still need to make props on a stick for people to hold up, like lips, mustaches, and glasses, so I’ll be adding that as another item on my list (it just keeps on growing!)IMG_3060

#13 Outdoor yoga
IMG_2941I experienced doing yoga outside one morning during my visit to Hawaii. I woke up really early on my own and took a couple of beach towels out to the edge of the pool (right outside the back door of our condo) to serve as my yoga mat. It was the first time I’ve ever tried doing a routine that I made up as I went, and after doing the poses on one side, I kept forgetting to do them on the other side. It felt very different to be staring up at the sky as I went through poses, and I found it more difficult to keep my balance. I’m not sure if this was because I was using the beach towels as a yoga mat, or because I’m used to having a ceiling to fix my gaze onto rather than an endless expanse of sky… maybe it was both. At any rate, I spent around 45 minutes working up a sweat and then enjoyed a savasana of staring up peacefully at the sky.

#18 Create a summer playlist
I finally compiled a list of around 60 songs before I took off to Hawaii, though I’m constantly editing it. I always think of another song I want to put on it and later decide to take a couple tracks off that I find myself skipping over. A few of my favorites are “She’s My Kind of Crazy” by Emerson Drive, “Chloe” by Emblem3, “Crazy Beautiful” by Andy Grammer, and lots of Floridy Georgia Line.Screen shot 2013-07-28 at 2.23.29 PM

#22 Take pictures with an underwater camera
My cousin, Jared, bought a Lifeproof case for his iPhone, so we took some fun underwater pictures while we were snorkeling in Hawaii! It definitely makes me want to get one too!992923_10151470631412443_1609810021_n 2

#23 Buy a dress for Hawaii
I wanted to buy a new dress to wear to my Aunt’s wedding in Hawaii, and I found this fun teal one from Target.com. I ordered several different styles online with free shipping from my Red Debit Card, and took back the ones that didn’t work out to the store. I think I picked a great one!IMG_2902

#24 Get a bikini body (for Hawaii)
I have wanted to get rid of my excess belly fat for a while now, so once summer started, I attended a few weeks of boot camp classes, hit the gym, and did several days of multiple yoga classes in a row. I also swore off drinking alcohol for the last couple months before the trip, and I found that I really didn’t miss it.  I was already eating fairly healthy foods, but I added in even more healthy options, like quinoa, almonds, avocado, and more salads. I still have a little more I’d like to get rid of before my wedding next summer, but I was pretty happy with how I looked for Hawaii. I also took the opportunity to do some yoga poses on the beach!IMG_2886

#31 Shop at “The Bins”
IMG_2783The Bins is the nickname for the Goodwill Outlet store in Milwaukie, OR. I had never been to one before, but it was quite the experience! My sisters had gone last year, and I had wanted to check it out ever since. Basically, it’s where Goodwill sends items that don’t make it to their stores, or that were in the stores too long and then get pulled off the shelves. They pile things in bins based on their category (clothing, household items, toys) and wheel them out into long rows where people dig though them looking for their next hidden treasure. Everything except furniture and heavy items is sold by the pound. My sister Hannah and her friend Avan went with me, and for a whopping $10.81, I was able to get a few sweaters and shirts for my sister (Banana Republic, Ann Taylor Loft, Nordstrom), a few sweaters and shirts for myself (Roxy, H&M, Old Navy), and several bags of photo booth props – hats, scarves, ties, fun bags, a boa… It came out to somewhere around 6 pounds. While we were shopping, we saw a pair of guys with tails, and had an old lady talk our ears off in some other language, maybe Italian? It was definitely an experience, and I would love to go back again sometime!

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#32 Garage Sale-ing
IMG_3061I have been wanting to do this for ages, but I always forget until I’m either too busy, it’s late in the day, or it’s not the weekend. Finally, I got myself organized last week on Thursday, and made a game plan of the areas of town I wanted to hit, which were mainly my neighborhood, the neighborhood I was housesitting in, and another neighborhood that was having a 28 family garage sale and was kind enough to provide a printable map.  I walked away with some awesome treasures! A lady was kind enough to sell me a large storage bin filled with her late father’s collection of antique glass bottles that I will use as vases at my wedding for only $20. There were soda bottles, milk bottles, liquor bottles, and small medicine bottles, and they are going to look stunning! Another lady was kind enough to sell me her late mother’s collection of  very nice scarves for my photo booth for only a quarter! I also found some neat vintage drawers that I will stack up on my dessert table to hold the cakes, as well as a vintage wooden tool box and a vintage wooden soda tray to use as more decorations. I also came into possession of a shopping bag full of picture frames that will be used at my wedding, and a number of other treasures. Altogether, I didn’t spend more than $40, and I ended up with some awesome items for my wedding!  I also set aside several $5 bills for the $5 bill challenge, and the envelope is starting to fill up!

#48 Salt and Straw
IMG_2784I had been wanting to visit Salt and Straw for a long time now, which specializes in small batches of ice cream made with local, high quality ingredients in a variety of odd flavors. I finally got to experience it on my day trip to Portland with my sister Hannah and her friend Avan, and holy moly it was amazing! I didn’t think it would be possible to enjoy flavors such as Arbequina Olive Oil and Honey Balsamic Strawberry with Cracked Black Pepper, but I did! I sampled so many delicious flavors, and my favorites were the Strawberry with Cilantro Lime Cheesecake and Sea Salt ice cream with Caramel Ribbon, and I decided to eat a full cone of the latter. It was so delicious! I can’t wait until I get the chance to go back again!

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#51 Volunteer
Last summer I tried to volunteer in my church’s Sunday School, but I never got a call. This year I signed up again, and got to volunteer last weekend with the 1st-5th graders! It was a lot of fun getting to be around kids again, and I showed a few girls how to make a certain kind of beaded bracelet that I used to make when I was a kid. I also helped lead a small group discussion with the 1st-2nd graders, and prayed for their prayer requests, some of which melted your heart, and others where outright hilarious! I had a great time, and will be back again to help out next weekend too!

#74 Despicable Me 2
I LOVED the first Despicable Me, and also thoroughly enjoyed the sequel. If you haven’t watched them yet, do it! They will keep you laughing and the littlest girl Agnes will melt your heart with how adorable she is!IMG_2789

#93 Paint my windshield wipers
The black paint on my windshield wipers had severely peeled off, and I was regularly getting blinded from the glare, so I finally bought a $3.49 can of matte black spray paint and went to town on transforming them. It was my first time using spray paint, and it was a lot of fun! I applied 2 coats for good measure, and they turned out great – I no longer get blinded by the glare!IMG_2829

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#95 Red Wagon Creamery
logoI was so excited to discover that Red Wagon Creamery was supposed to be my local Eugene version of Salt and Straw (which I absolutely LOVED), but I was thoroughly disappointed by the ice cream. First, there weren’t very many unique flavors when we went. Second, the samples didn’t all “wow” me with their amazingness. Third (and worst of all), they left an awful thick filmy layer in our mouths. I got a blackberry/vanilla ice cream, and while the sample must have had a ton of blackberry, the cone I got was almost plain vanilla. Alex got a smoky salted caramel which had a really strong flavor at first, but it got old really fast. And that awful flavorless film that accumulated in our mouths was just terrible. I don’t know what they put in their ice cream to make that thick film, but it was the first time in my life that I actually dumped ice cream down the drain when I got home, so I could just enjoy the cone. I really wanted to love their ice cream, but I doubt I’ll be back any time soon after that experience.

#99 Antique store
Remember Hollywood Video stores? Well when they all went out of business several years ago, a new antique store popped up in one of their old buildings, and they kept the old sign and called it Hollywood Treasures and Re-Runs. I’ve driven by it a number of times over the years, and finally stopped by last week to browse. It was soooo neat to see all of the old things that created a snapshot into the past.  I was looking for more things I could use for my wedding when I discovered the perfect thing –  a mini trunk! In lieu of a gift table, my wedding is going to have a gift trunk which I found on craigslist a while back and spray painted it teal to match my wedding colors. I was still trying to decide what to use for a card box, and was initially looking for an antique bird cage to use, when I found the mini trunk! It matches perfectly with my decor, and I just need to give it a good coat of spray paint (one of my new obsessions) and it will be perfect!

IMG_2838Large teal trunk for gifts

IMG_3062Small new trunk for cards

Whew – I’m finally caught up! Hopefully I won’t get so far behind again. Hope you’re all having a fabulous summer (I know that I am)!